The logo, color scheme, typography, illustration, photography style, and other design elements that distinguish a company are referred to as brand design.
The design industry is vast, and it is frequently separated into various design categories. Product design, graphic design, online design, marketing design, and brand design are the most frequent types of design. We’ll look at what branding is and why it’s so crucial in this essay.
What exactly is branding?
“The promotion of a particular product or firm through advertising and distinctive design,” according to the Oxford definition, is the definition of “the promotion of a particular product or firm through advertising and distinctive design.” Some may say that branding consists just of a product’s or company’s visual aspects, but this is only one aspect of what branding entails.
When you’re not in the room, branding is what people say about your product or company. What does a consumer think of you? Is your visual brand, tone, and voice communicating the proper message? Branding aids in the creation of a lasting impression. It’s the difference between a brand that survives the test of time and one that dies before becoming a household name.
This graphic is a fantastic visual representation of what branding is and all of the aspects that go into it. The logo, colors, and typography are at the tip of the iceberg and are immediately visible from the surface. But what we can’t see right away are the vision, values, message, personality, strategy, and voice that lie beneath the iceberg. All of these components are important and work together to form a brand. However, in this post, we’ll focus on brand design or the aesthetic aspects that make up the tip of the iceberg.
Tell your company’s story
Every well-known brand has its own set of brand standards. In essence, brand guidelines are a how-to guide for the brand’s visual features. They usually come in the form of a multi-page document that can be easily shared with a variety of people who come into contact with the company. If you’ve ever worked for a brand as an in-house designer, your company most definitely has one of them, and you’ve probably used it a lot when designing.
You have the option to construct the visual language and collect it into a compact and usable style, whether you’re working for a new firm or engaged as a freelance designer by a client to come up with these branded pieces.
What is the content of brand guidelines?
The style and organization of brand standards will differ from one company to the next. The more established and larger a corporation is, the more detailed its standards are likely to be.
You can see the range of possibilities for these brand rules in the examples below. Some are multi-page microsites containing subsections and examples of how to use their brand, while others are single-page microsites connected to their site’s about or company section. There is no right or wrong method for offering guidelines, and they will almost certainly develop as the organization grows.
On a fundamental level, brand standards will detail logo specifications. Is there a horizontal, vertical, or icon-only version of the logo? You’ll obtain the exact RGB, Hex, CMYK, and Pantone color codes. You’ll see how much spacing was utilized to create the logo and how much should be around it when it’s used with other items. What about logo lockups for partnerships? It’s also worth noting that there are guidelines for this and other things.
The logo may come with a color palette; the specifications for these colors, as well as how to use them, will be detailed. Headlines, body material, and any special display typefaces will all have their exact typography specified. Is the brand heavy on illustration or photography? You’ll find instructions for the approach behind the creation and use of these assets.
Examples of the best brand guidelines
Now that we’ve covered the fundamentals of brand design and the importance of brand standards in developing a company’s identity, let’s look at some visual examples from well-known firms. To fully appreciate the complexity and context of these recommendations, be sure to click through and visit their microsites.
Brand guidelines have changed over time, and many large brands now have microsites that can be readily shared with external partners. Starting with Starbucks, here are a few instances. Their logo, colors, voice, typography, illustration, photography, and even a few case studies of their design in action are all shared. This microsite is simply stunning, a self-contained brand statement that serves as a valuable tool for expressing the Starbucks brand.
Uber’s brand standards are likewise housed on a lovely webpage. The logo, color, composition, iconography, artwork, motion, photography, tone of voice, and typography are all covered under their guidelines. You may even download the logo and other templates right from these sections of the website.
YouTube’s brand rules are housed in a separate portion of their website and are more streamlined, with everything on one page. What not to do with the logo is a popular part of brand rules. Normally, you don’t want to change a brand’s logo in any way, but a section like this is useful to refer to for external partners in case there is any question.
Dropbox has a simplified version of its standards as well. They discuss glyph and wordmark logo usage, location, inappropriate logo usage, application logos, product pictures, and some disclaimer mentions for additional uses.
Netflix’s brand microsite takes it a step further by allowing users to log in and share additional assets. They share their logo and symbol in their brand assets section, along with specifications such as colors, positioning, and what not to do. If you’ve ever wondered what the Netflix logo’s exact HEX color code is, now you know.
Slack includes a link to their brand guidelines paper on their website’s media kit page. It’s been separated into three sections: Defining our brand — This section delves into the Slack brand’s messaging and strategy. This area covers logo lockups, color, typography, icons, artwork, motion, and other visual brand aspects. Governance: This section delves deeper into general terms, trademarks, and usage restrictions, in other words, the legal aspects of operating with the Slack brand.
Zendesk’s branding microsite, dubbed “Brandland,” is a bit of a joke. They share the basics, such as philosophy, brand traits, and messaging, under “the brand.” They delve into brand identity, typography, color, and layout under the heading “Design.” They also go over copywriting, film, and experience rules in great depth.
Audi’s microsite is well-designed. Under the heading “Fundamentals,” they all have the same look and feel. In their guide section, they cover user interface, communication media, corporate branding, corporate sound, motion pictures, Audi motorsport, and dealer facility in depth. It’s worth noting how on-brand Audi’s brand guidelines are in terms of design and organization. The richness and sophistication are palpable.
The Spotify brand rules are all on one website, including links to topics like credit, utilizing our content, using our logos, using our colors, logos and naming restrictions, fonts, and more.
What can these brand guidelines teach you?
These are just a few examples of brand rules and the various factors that go into creating a brand. Try doing some research on your favorite brand and looking up their brand standards online to see what you can find out. You’ll notice certain recurring motifs, but you might also come across something fresh. Use these recommendations as a starting point for learning more about branding.